Chinese Architecture in Beijing Forms and designs
Chinese architectureof TheMing dynasty uses bright colors, painting detailed scenes, rooftiles, roof guardians, and manymarble fence posts. It looks very different than westernarchitecture. Power is shown by space not height.
In China, the Forbidden City was considered to be the center of the world. The Emperor was to be at the center of thecosmos,so the main axis of the city is North-South. The Hall of Supreme Harmony at thecenter of the city is where the Emperor heldaudiences.After entering the city you passed through several halls and courtyards on your way to this audience. It was meant to make you feel small.
From this view of the Forbidden City you can see the North-South axis and the waythat Feng Shui was used to design it. It musthave a mountain at the back so they built an artificial one called Coal Hill. It was surrounded by a moat which was the necessary water feature for an auspicious location. It is in concentric circles within a square which represents heaven and earth.
The Forbidden City was designed to be both beautiful and impressive. Its golden yellow roof tiles made it stand out from all other buildings in the area.Although it covers huge areas, it maintains harmony because of how it was designed.
Nine is a lucky number in China. Notice the number of nails in each door.
Nine is a lucky number in China so the Emperor will have 9 roof guardians The color of a roof reflects the social status of the people living inside. Yellow wasreserved only for the Imperial family.Princes can only use green while ordinary people use grey roof tiles. Any Imperial door will have 9 studs in each direction.
Summer Palace• Golden Roof Tiles for an Imperial Residence.
Who lived in this house ? How could you tell ?
The dragon is associated with the Emperor and is used extensively in the Forbidden Cityas a decorative element. These dragons serve as downspouts to move water away from the hall to protect it. They are the embodiment of imperial power but also serve a practical purpose.
Inside the Hall of Supreme Harmony there are 66 great columns. The throne has dragon decorations as does the screenbehind it. The cross beams have dragons in yellow decorating them. The Emperor’scloak had dragons woven into it. Altogether there are 12,654 dragons in this room. A multiple of the auspicious number 9.
All buildings must have water in front ofthem and mountains at the back pointing to the sun. In this case the water also served the practical feature of protecting woodenstructures in case of fire.The large pots are found all over the Forbidden City.
The Temple of Heaven is where theEmperor made sacrifices to assure bountiful harvests . China was an agricultural society so the importance of this sacrifice was shown by the emperor himself offering it upto the heavens.The hall itself is high and is a symbol for the heavens. All carvings inside are of clouds.
Lamma Temple was built by the MingEmperor’s as a home away from home for the Dalai Lama of TibetanBuddhism. When he visited Beijing, he lived here.
The Badaling section of the Great Wall isone of the more easily reached from Beijing but its also very steep. It crosses a criticalpass that protects Beijing. The guard towers used dried wolf dung to burn to announce invaders were coming. The amount theyburned told how many soldiers were coming through the pass. This gate is an entrance to the wall itself.
Interior painting in atemple at the Great Wall
Prince Gong was an imperial official who was executed for his “ extravagance “ . His real crime was in building a stone boat which angered the Emperor and led to his execution.The former palace at Beijing Universityshows his taste but this was his palace. Today it is a teahouse.